Crowdfunding for Parkinson’s Disease

Crowdfunding for Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s Disease is a long-term degenerative disease of the central nervous system. Affecting the motor system, the four cardinal symptoms are shaking, slowness of movement (bradykinesia), the rigidity of limbs, and walking difficulties. Those in the advanced stages develop thinking and behavioral problems, culminating in dementia.

Parkinson Disease affects more than 6 million people globally. In India alone, it affects an average of 7 million people! It affects at least one percent of the people over 60. The worst bit about the disease is that it is a slow killer, taking anywhere between 7 to `14 years.

Parkinson’s is actually one of the most famous diseases, and also among the most feared. Many famous personalities like Muhammad Ali, Davis Phinney and Michael J. Fox have opened up about the disease after being diagnosed with it. The major contributing factor is genetics, with 15% of the patients having a first-degree relative with this disease. Environmental factors like prolonged exposure to pesticides and frequent head injuries also hasten the disease.  A common symptom is having bad dreams for a prolonged period, characterized by REM sleep disturbance. People with diabetes too have increased vulnerability. On the other hand, people regularly using the painkiller ibuprofen for at least twice a week have a 38% less chance of contracting the disease.

In India, the biggest setback to treating the disease is the lack of awareness, even in middle-class households with substantial education. It is further complicated by the fact that mental health is rarely talked about in India, which leads to the overlooking of the ‘usual problems of old age’- the earliest signs of the disease setting in.

With the poor, the situation is inconceivable. In addition to the necessity of abusing the body as long as it can handle it, there is the next to no awareness. But most importantly, it is the cost of treating such a difficult disease over prolonged periods that makes life with Parkinson’s a hell-hole for the poor. The public healthcare system is not even an option for these patients due to the apathy and lack of infrastructure. The treatments range from medications to increase dopamine in the brain to alternative treatment like Ayurveda, which incidentally has been found to be immensely effective even internationally. Many cases also call for surgery. Then there is the supportive health care which is necessary for increasingly dysfunctional patients.

Crowdfunding has enormous potential in tackling Parkinson’s in India. Not only would donations to crowdfunding websites help in treating individual cases, but non-profits and corporations here can easily resort to crowdfunding to make drugs more accessible. Given the nature of the disease, the peer to peer crowdfunding model can also be adopted for fundraising events like marathons. Understand that crowdfunding campaigns for chronic diseases take a lot of time and hard work to be successful. All one needs to do is to set up a crowdfunding profile in the most reputed crowdfunding platforms in India for the best visibility and access.

Category Business

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